Joining the long line of chic eateries/bars that litter Taipei's Anho Road, Mono Mono, which opened about three months ago, is fast becoming the venue of choice for the yuppie late-night dinning crowd, offering as it does a different sort of atmosphere for denizens of the night to spend the wee hours.
Unlike many of the thoroughfare's other popular drinking and dinning establishments, with their glitzy and well-lit interiors, there are no ostentatious lighting fixtures and tacky brass trappings at Mono Mono. Dimly lit and almost cavernous, the joint's choice of furnishings and the placing of the few lights the bar/restaurant boasts are such that Mono Mono creates its own unique aura of anti-chic chic.
Not that Mono Mono's hip retro lounge-styled decor and the laid-back and relaxed atmosphere are the only reason behind the joint's fast becoming "the place" to be seen. The 16 brands of single malt whiskey on offer and the late-night kitchen are the real reason large numbers of the capital's professional workforce enjoy propping up the bar, lounging around on the sofas and generally being seen at Mono Mono.
While modest, the menu is solid and offers the late-night crowd a wide selection of dishes. Appetizers include sauteed beef with leek (NT$230), sauteed duck breast with leek (NT$250) and poached octopus with cocktail sauce (NT$200). For more adventurous late-night diners, the braised frog Taiwanese style (NT$250) comes recommended.
Heartier dishes include everything from crispy pork knuckle with sauerkraut (NT$420), grilled rib-eye steak with garlic (NT420) and salmon steak with mustard sauce (NT$350). Several reasonably priced pasta dishes including angel hair pasta with pesto and smoked chicken (NT220) and ink pasta with scallops and shrimps in tomato sauce (NT$220) are available for those not looking for a belt-busting midnight feed.
Address: 17, Alley 29, Lane 127, Anho Road, Sec. 1, Taipei
Telephone: (02) 2754-0868
Open: Weekdays 9pm until 4am, weekends 9pm until 5am
Average meal: NT$600 with drink
Details: English menu
Food aside, a night out at Mono Mono without sampling at least one of the single malts on offer would not be complete. For patrons who fancy a wallet busting, but unique tipple, the bar stocks such smooth, aged delicacies as 17-year-old Ardberg, 15-year-old Aberlour and even the odd bottle or two of 30-year-old Glennfidich. Whiskey shots cost between NT$280 and NT$350 and bottles cost between NT$10,000 and NT$18,000 for some of the rarer malts not available in single shots.
For the whiskey connoisseur on a tighter budget, a selection of American, Canadian, and Irish whiskeys are also available, as are all the usual gassy lager suspects.